Things That Matter – Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics


Pros: Easy read,

Cons: None

I received a copy of Charles Krauthammer’s New York Times best-selling book, Things That Matter as a Christmas present this year and finally got the opportunity to check it out while on vacation last week.  I like listening to his comments as a regular contributor on the Fox News network channel which I find both insightful and fair.

Anyone attempting to paint Mr. Krauthammer as a crazy right wing nut case certainly does not understand his background.  The author is an admitted former Democrat but has evolved his political views over time to where he is today as a well know “conservative” author and television pundit.

He has written on a wide range of topics over the years, many of which end up with some political angle for a number of outlets including the Weekly Standard, Washington Post, and Time to name a few.  This book is actually a collection of Mr. Krauthammer’s works over the past three decades on things personal, political and historical.

It’s obvious that the articles were penned by a man with a superior education and rather large vocabulary.  Still despite having to look up several words I had never used before, the book is a very easy read.  I love the idea that each article is only an average of three or so pages in length.  This allowed me to fit reading the book in with everything else that we were doing, always able to find a convenient stopping point and never losing the train of thought when coming back to continue my reading.

Krauthammer segments the first part of his book into articles he likes to consider personal.  Six chapters, broken up with 34 different collection articles in which he uses humor, fact and personal experience to make his many points.  He takes the time on more than a few instances to interject two of his passions into his stories… chess and baseball.

I’ll recount one particular comment published in the Washington Post in 2004.  The meat of the article rested on former Vice President Dick Cheney’s use of the “F-word” which he pointed at Senator Patrick Leahy.  I got several chuckles as I read about the FCC decision a year earlier to allow the word as an adjective but block its use in a verb form.  Krauthammer took advantage of humor to display both the senselessness of government control of public matters and the obvious political double standards involved in the media discourse following the incident.

The next part of the book included five chapters where each article was pointed more directly at the art of politics itself.  Krauthammer has included writings on nearly every political topic available.  Expect articles on affirmative action,  Social Security, global warming the role of government and plenty more.   Again you might be surprised about how this man who is painted with a broad brush as a right-winger views some subjects like capital punishment and stem cell research.  This portion covers five chapters and 32 different essays.  I found the essays included in the portion contained far less humor but rather facts and the author’s personal experience and observations.

The third portion covers 19 previously published articles over four chapters.  The author spends time and a number of submissions on the state of Israel, the “War on Terror”.  Again here I found the essays included in the section a bit drier but still full of interesting information and insight.

I thoroughly enjoyed the read from beginning to end.  I found myself in agreement with the author more than not.  In the instances where I found some disagreement, I was able to respectfully disagree and turn the page without feeling like I got a slap in the face.

Mr. Krauthammer’s Things That Matter – Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics is a great buy.  I have to offer four and one half stars and a buy recommendation.  The book is only available in hardcover or electronic choices at this time.

The $10.91 price at Amazon above is for the Kindle edition.



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